OK, so maybe I am not totally impartial on the subject, but I thought Johnny's experience was a success story. Remember that it was over 90 deg F (32 deg C) during the race.
To the OP (Mike): I was going to mention that same previous discussion thread myself -- "Crash course for LA Marathon" or something like that. Check it out. It sounds like your situation is pretty similar: bet with friends, alcohol, etc. (well, I don't know about the alcohol part, heh heh)
I stand by the advice I gave Johnny for that race. I think if you do it right, you can finish in about 6 hours. If you are heavier than 175 lbs (80 kg), or if it is a hot day, then somewhat slower. It will be a huge effort no matter what.
We did hear back from Johnny a week or so after the race, and he was pretty upbeat about the experience, even talking about trying again next year. If he had suffered a crippling injury (a possibility you hint at), then I don't think this would have been the case.
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